The right way to play the analytics game

Nataša Ivanović,
Head of Analytics, Webelinx Games
The gaming industry, expanding dynamically and with no limit in sight, offers great potential for business growth. Still, there are many internal and external factors that can influence one gaming company that need to be closely monitored. We are faced with important business decisions on a daily basis, yet rarely do we have all the necessary information to make those decisions.

We at Webelinx Games, recognized early on that the only way to achieve consistent growth is by understanding our users, their needs, and how they fulfill those needs by engaging with our games. And that’s only possible with a strong analytics team. After more than 15 years leading business analytics and strategy planning within telco, I’ve got the perfect opportunity to create and lead a new team in gaming, that was an inspiring challenge that fits my curious nature. The team now consists of four data analysts and engineers. They are smart, motivated, and with a growth mindset, which makes them invaluable as a business partners in both product and marketing teams.

Many companies believe that analytics equals reporting and tracking basic metrics. Some of them will go a step ahead and add mining on details of user behavior. In Webelinx Games we went a few steps further and analytics is considered a strong strategic asset. The analytics team is here to understand players and their preferences, but also the overall market and reasoning behind the company’s business vision and strategy. Providing inputs on where the focus should be, enables full business potential to be reached. During last year, we made great progress and laid a healthy foundation for the continuous growth of analytical capabilities that are incorporated into the business processes. 

As we were building the analytics team and analytical capabilities within Webelinx Games, we were led by these three principles: 

  1. Define Data and analytics strategy – first of all, on top of fully understanding company strategy, get to know your internal business stakeholders better: don’t ask only about their needs, but understand their challenges, priorities, and expectations from analytics. The strategy developed with these insights in mind, together with an assessment of data needed for building a data pipeline, is the one that needs to be set up before any other step is taken forward.
  2. Incorporate the analytics team into all business processes, from company strategy definition to sprint planning. The analytics team should be seen as a business partner and the employee should see the value in data, using it in daily decision-making. This is easier to say than to implement, since it is often a transformation of how everyday business is managed and how decisions are made, and that needs full leadership support.
  3. Build a data solution that fits the purpose, and then grow incrementally. The business environment is under continuous and fast-paced change, and analytics should follow, being agile and consequently highly adaptable. Building robust, nonflexible solutions requiring substantial resources, is not effective for our industry. We are using tools off the shelf, preferring cloud SaaS solutions that fit our current needs enabling us to go into details but still optimizing investments. Think smart and iterate 🙂 

If you want to join the Analytics Team and work with Nataša – Webelinx Games is looking for a Data Engineer right now!

This article was previously published in SGA yearly report.